If you like spicy food, this Korean spicy soup made with leftover turkey will become your favorite recipe to use up all that leftovers from your Thanksgiving dinner!
Thanksgiving is coming up! Every year, I prepare a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner for my extended family. There isn’t much Korean flavor on our turkey day table, but my family enjoys Korean dishes made with leftover turkey, such as porridge (juk, 죽) and this spicy soup that’s similar to dakgaejang (spicy chicken soup).
They all start with making turkey stock! The morning after Thanksgiving, it’s a tradition for me to make turkey stock with what’s left of the turkey carcass. Then, I make turkey porridge for breakfast. Within the next day or two, we love to have a spicy bowl of turkey soup, which is nothing like Western-style turkey soup.
This soup is made similar to yukgaejang (육개장), which is a popular spicy soup made with shredded beef and lots of scallions and other vegetables. Dakgaejang (닭개장) is a variation of yukgaejang, made with chicken.
The chicken version is traditionally made with boiled chicken. I often make it with leftover of a roasted whole chicken (store bought or homemade). Those leftover bones are perfect for making chicken stock, and the whole chicken is too much for two of us to finish. Turkey remains work equally well.
As such, this recipe also works with chicken remains.
How to make stock with turkey carcass
- Remove as much meat as possible from the turkey carcass and save them to use in the porridge or soup.
- Put the turkey remains in a large stock pot filled three-quarters of the way with water. Break up the bones if they are too big to fit in the pot.
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat and skim off any foam. Add the vegetables, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 2 hours. Cool and pour through a strainer into a large bowl or pot.
- You can use a fat separator to remove the fat or keep it in the fridge until the fat solidifies to spoon off the fat.
Vegetables for the soup
This type of spicy soup calls for lots of scallions. The large variety of scallions (daepa, 대파) is typically preferred for soups if you can find them. They are more flavorful! In this recipe, I also used mung bean sprouts (sukju namul, 숙주나물) and shiitake mushrooms, but you can of course omit them if you like. You can add gosari (fern braken) as we typically do for yukgaejang (beef version). Some leafy vegetables like napa cabbage or bok choy will be a good addition as well.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
Spicy soup with leftover turkey
Korean spicy soup made with leftover roasted turkey. The recipe is also great with leftover roasted chicken.
- 8 cups turkey/chicken stock (see below for recipe)
- 2 cups or more cooked turkey/chicken meat, shred into bite sizes
- 1 – 2 bunches scallions
- 8 ounces mung bean sprouts
- 5 fresh shiitake mushrooms (or 3 soaked dry shiitake mushrooms)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes)
- 1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste)
- 3 tablespoons guk ganjang (soup soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- Remains of roasted turkey or chicken
- 1 medium onion (halved and peeled (1/2 for chicken))
- 1 large carrot cut into large chunks
- 1 large celery stalk cut into large chunks
- 5 to 7 plump garlic cloves
- 1 to 2 bay leaves
- Pull the meat from the bones and shred into thin strips (or bite sizes).
Blanch the bean spouts for a minute or two and drain. You can skip blanching if you want. Cut the scallions into about 4-inch lengths. Thinly slice the mushrooms.
In a pan, heat the sesame oil until hot (but not smoking hot) over low heat. Add the chili pepper flakes and turn the heat off. Stir gently until the oil turns red and the chili pepper flakes become pasty. Do not burn the flakes.
- Add the meat, bean sprouts, mushrooms, 1 tablespoon soup soy sauce, and garlic to the sesame oil mixture and mix well. Marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.
Bring the stock to a boil in a large pot. Add the marinated meat and vegetables to the stock. Stir in the gochujang and 2 tablespoons of soup soy sauce. Cook for 5 minutes over medium high heat.
- Throw in the scallions. Continue to boil for an additional 3 – 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a bowl of rice.
Making the stock
Remove as much meat as possible from the chicken/turkey carcass and save them to use in the soup.
Put the chicken/turkey remains in a large stock pot filled three-quarters of the way with water.
Break up the bones if they are too big to fit in the pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and skim off any foam.
Add the vegetables, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for about an hour or two.
Cool and pour through a strainer into a large bowl. You can use a fat separator to remove the fat or keep it in the fridge until the fat solidifies to spoon off the fat.
This recipe was originally posted in November 2012. I’ve updated it here with new photos, more information and minor changes to the recipe.